Constitution of Costa Rica

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The Constitution of Costa Rica is the supreme law of Costa Rica. At the end of the 1948 Costa Rican Civil War, José Figueres Ferrer oversaw the Costa Rican Constitutional Assembly, which drafted the document. It was approved on 1949 November 7. Several older constitutions had been in effect starting from 1812, with the most recent former constitution ratified in 1871. The Costa Rican Constitution is remarkable in that it abolished the Costa Rican military, making it the first nation to do so by law. Another unusual clause include an amendment asserting the right to live in a healthy natural environment.

Issue and content of the original text of the Constitution

The junta led by José Figueres Ferrer took office in Costa Rica on 1948 May 8 under the name of the Founding Board of the Second Republic, and the same day provisionally reinstated the validity of the national chapters, individual and social rights of the 1871 Constitution. On 1948 September 3, the Board called for elections for a Constituent Assembly, which opened on 1949 January 15. This Assembly recognized the verified presidential election in favor of Otilio Ulate Blanco and provided that he exercised the presidency from 1949 to 1953.

Draft

The Foundation Board of the Second Republic appointed a committee of jurists to prepare a draft Constitution. The Constituent Assembly rejected their draft and instead took as a basis for discussion the Constitution of 1871, although in the course of the revisions they admitted some elements of it. On 1949 November 7, the Assembly approved the new constitution, which is currently in force.

Summary

In its original wording had 199 articles distributed in eighteen titles and 19 transitory articles.

Title 1 declares that the Republic is free and independent, it proclaims that sovereignty resides in the nation, setting the limits of Costa Rican territory and consecrates its sovereignty over the airspace above its territory, territorial waters and constitutional platform. It provides that the government is popular, representative, alternative and responsible and is exercised by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It provides that provisions contrary to the Constitution are null and that the Supreme Court can declare unconstitutional the laws and executive decrees. The army as a permanent institution is abolished.

Title II regulates the condition of Costa Rican by birth or by naturalization.

Title III regulates the situation of foreigners who have the same rights and duties as Costa Ricans, with the exceptions set by the Constitution and laws.

Title IV contains the enunciation of the rights and individual guarantees, including privacy, habeas corpus and the establishment of administrative courts .

Title V refers to social rights. It places high importance on family values. It establishes the rights of workers and trade unions.

Title VI on the Religion, reproduces unchanged the text of the constitutional reform of 1882 on the subject, noting that the Catholic Church is the state religion and that it contributes to its maintenance, without impeding the exercise of any other worship it is not opposed to universal morality or good customs.

Title VII is devoted to education and culture. In addition to enshrining compulsory primary education, it states that the preschool and high school are free. Freedom of private education is guaranteed and introduced various provisions regarding the University of Costa Rica, the freedom of teaching in higher education and various cultural aims of the Republic.

Title VIII deals with the political rights and duties. The established universal suffrage and direct right of Costa Ricans of either sex and a Supreme Electoral Tribunal was established to organize and conduct the elections, declaring the result of the elections and perform other functions related to the vote. Under his dependence is a Civil Registry. Members of the Court are elected for six years by the Supreme Court by a vote of not less than two thirds of votes of all judges and must meet the requirements for these.

Title IX regulates the Legislative Power, which holds one house called the Legislative Assembly integrated by 45 Deputies to homeowners and less 15 alternates. Deputies are elected for four years and may be reappointed successively. The Legislature lost some of their traditional, such as those relating to the election authority, but took others, including those to question and give vote of confidence to the Ministers and appoint investigating committees. Its regular sessions were expanded considerably. The Executive may veto a bill to consider it inconvenient or unconstitutional and in the latter case the Supreme Court decides the matter. The Assembly is obliged to consult the Supreme Court, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and other institutions in the bills relating to them and in some cases requires a qualified majority deviate from their approach.

Title X concerns the executive branch exercising the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Ministers, as they subordinate collaborators and are freely appointed and removed by him. President's period of four years and a former President can not be elected again to eight years after completion of his previous period. There are two Vice Presidents of the Republic, who is popularly elected at the same time that the President and replace him in his temporary or permanent absence. The Governing Council composed of the President and the Ministers and has specific functions, such as exercising the right of pardon and appoint and dismiss diplomatic representatives.

Title XI regulates the judiciary. The Supreme Court justices are appointed by the Legislature for periods of eight years and reelected automatically for equal periods unless otherwise decided by two thirds of Deputies. For the performance of the judiciary is required by law degree and have served the profession for ten years at least.

Title XII refers to the municipal system. It keeps the division into provinces, cantons and districts. In each canton there is a Municipality, popularly elected every four years. Municipal corporations are autonomous.

Title XIII deals with the Treasury and regulates the issuance and execution of budgets and functions of the Comptroller General of the Republic and the National Treasury.

Title XIV regulates the independent institutions that are independent in governance and administration. These include state banks, insurance institutions estatatales and new bodies set up by the Legislative Assembly by vote of at least two thirds of its members.

Title XV regulates the civil service and XVI and] oath that must be civil servants to observe and defend the Constitution and laws.

Title XVI refers to the constitutional review. A project that will partially reform the Constitution should be presented in regular session at least ten deputies. The project requires approval by two-thirds vote of the Assembly and then passed to the Executive. President returns with his observations along with their annual Legislature at its next regular meeting message. The Assembly must pass the amendment by a two-thirds vote of all its members again. The general reform of the Constitution can only be made by a Constituent Assembly convened for that purpose, after complying with the formalities of partial reform.

XVIII The title refers to the authority of the Constitution and includes transitory articles.

Reforms since 1949

The 1949 Constitution has been in force for a considerable period and has been the subject of numerous partial reforms.

Among the most important reforms include:

1954, which increased the number of judges of the Supreme Court .

1957, which assigned to the Judiciary sum not less than 6% of the national budget.

1958, which removed the gratuity of municipal offices.

1959, which established the State's obligation to enroll citizens in the Civil Registry and provide them with identity cards.

1961, which set to fifty-seven the number of Deputies, suppressed the institution of alternate Deputies and established universal social insurance.

1968, which led to treaties ranking higher than laws, prohibited discrimination contrary to human dignity, abolished the independence of the autonomous institutions in government and arranged for the convening of a constituent to the overall reform of the Constitution only requires the approval of two thirds of votes of all Deputies.

1969, which absolutely prohibited presidential reelection.

1971, which lowered the age requirement for civic duties to eighteen years.

1971 and 1972, to protect public employees' salaries from being used to pay political debts.

1975, which clarified the independence of the branches of government, abolished the ban on forming parties opposed to the democratic system, gave Spanish as an official language of the Republic, allowed the President to travel to other Panama or Central American countries without legislative authorization, set at 12 miles territorial waters and established a zone of territorial waters 200.

1984, which abolished the principle that wage increases of Deputies could only govern until after they have ceased to function those who approved.

1989, which established the constitutional jurisdiction and attributed to a specialized chamber of the Supreme Court the resolution of constitutionality conflicts.

1993, which allowed the existence of standing committees with legislative powers.

1994, which established the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.

1995, which stated that the quality of Costa Rican (citizenship) is not lost and can not be waived.

2003 reform of the constitution of 1969 is deleted and will return to the presidential reelection.

2015, declaring the country to be multiethnic and multicultural.

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